Archive for June 27th, 2006

The New York Times broke the story about the US combing through bank transactions to track terrorists. Bush had a fit:

“…the disclosure of this program is disgraceful. We’re at war with a bunch of people who want to hurt the United States of America, and for people to leak that program, and for a newspaper to publish it, does great harm to the United States of America.”

Newspapers everywhere scrambled to justify the breaking of the story. Right-wing pundits attacked. The Weekly Standard:

The New York Times is a national security threat. So drunk is it on its own power and so antagonistic to the Bush administration that it will expose every classified antiterror program it finds out about, no matter how legal the program, how carefully crafted to safeguard civil liberties, or how vital to protecting American lives.

If that weren’t extreme enough for you, consider a right-wing blogger’s proposal:

Wouldn’t executing Risen, Lichtblau, and Keller for treason (along with the person or persons responsible for leaking the government secrets) bring with it the ancillary benefit of encouraging other journalists and editors to find more socially beneficial ways to win a Pulitzer Prize and government leakers other ways of carrying out their leftwing Democratic party-supporting political agenda?

Yes, this blogger is saying that supporting Democrats is akin to treason.

Personally, I think the Times and other papers are doing US citizens a favor by publishing reports on intelligence agencies and the administrations working outside the bounds of law. The agencies and administration should follow the rule of law. End of story.

There’s a number of theories that Bush and his allies were only half-heartedly concerned about the leak, if at all, but are using the story as a pretext to divert attention to the media and away from Bush’s illegal domestic spying.

In the end, it comes down to the question posed by Bernie Ward: who should decide what newspapers should print? The newspapers or the government?

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Over at Coobs’ site (find your own link) we were treated to glimpse of the GOP mindset surrounding the Iraq War.

10:13 am

Coobs posts:

To Jon Tester & his loyalists, I’ll type this slowly, since I know you don’t read fast:

Staying the Course = victory on the war on terror

Cutting & Running = failure

Any questions?

11:02 am

Less than an hour later, this tidbit appeared in the comment thread, posted by Coobs:

If we stay in Iraq until October, when the Iraqi’s can police themselves, we have accomplished the objective.

If we tuck in our tail & run, we fail.

So what happened between 10:13 am and 11:02 am to get Coobs to reverse his position and advocate for “cutting and running” in October? The news that the administration is planning to reduce troops in Iraq in – surprise! – September!

What appears at first to be the inept fumbling of a minor local blogger actually looks to be a part of a larger pattern:

The next step, of course, will be for the same people who three days ago were demanding the execution of John Kerry and John Murtha for even daring to suggest a withdrawal timetable to immediately begin calling for a withdrawal timetable — that is, when they’re not hailing the Cheney administration for having won a smashing victory in Iraq. In fact it’s already started.

What this whole about-face on “cutting and running” represents in a larger scheme is that the Republican party is again using the Iraq War for political gain. They don’t care about the war, whether Iraqis or Americans die, whether the country really does become a democracy or even stable as long as it benefits their party.

That seems like a stretch, doesn’t it, to make that sweeping assumption based on one local blogger’s flip-flopping and some lefty blogger commentry? But watch. Coobs is, if anything, an accurate barometer of Burns’ and the GOP’s campaign tactics.

The Bush administration and their Congressional yes-men have since day one preyed on the fears of everyday Americans in the wake of 9/11 in order to win themselves political advantages over their Democratic peers. Iraq enabled Republicans to paint their opponents as weak on security, unpatriotic, or downright treasonous. Iraq’s occupation has been relentlessly partisan and political: Bush has appointed party hacks in key positions in the occupation’s administration. (Party hacks refused to give the military the number of troops they said they needed to pacify Iraq. Party hacks wasted taxpayer dollars on feel-good photo-ops of library or school openings for front cover stories in US papers instead of working to restore electricity or sewage. Party hacks stretch the troops and force soldiers to stay in country long after their service time should have run out.)

And now withdrawal after saying leaving would be cowardice, or worse.

But is the withdrawal permanent? billmon:

Has all the recent hollering about cutting and running simply been an elaborate smoke screen to cover the preparations to, well, cut and run?I don’t know, although I lean towards the more cynical view that this is simply a ploy to try to get through the elections. Leaving Iraq (I mean really leaving Iraq) would be an enormous loss of face for Shrub and his ventriloquist — not so much here at home, where the semi-official media generally can be relied upon to call black white on command, but in the Middle East and wherever else America is hated. The Cheneyites might just as well wrap Iraq up, put a bow on it, and give it to Tehran as a going away present. At least, that’s how it would be seen in the region.

For the record, I agree. I don’t think Bush leaves Iraq during his Presidency. I think he was speaking truthfully when he said he’d leave Iraq to future Presidents. I also think the US is going to try to build permanent military bases in the country, and that we’ll be fighting there for years to come.

Yes, folks, I believe the GOP is playing politics with Iraq and US troops. And you wonder why we’re losing the war. Had enough? Isn’t it time we had a plan for Iraq?

Update: Maybe I was right when I first called troop withdrawal two weeks ago. Here’s a dandy quote, if I do say so myself:

I’m betting it’ll be this Republican administration that begins “cutting and running,” just in time for the upcoming midterm elections. That’s right! All these shifts in policy signal one thing: the imminent gradual withdrawal of troops from Iraq.

I listed the rhetoric likely to follow from the right — which appears already to be happening. I also predicted that troop strength will go right back up after the midterms.

D*mn this is like shooting fish in the barrel. The GOP is so predictable…

Links…

Wulfgar! on the idiotic commercial released by the national Dems. Stay the f*ck out! Last thing we need is help from a ten-time loser!

Moorcat weighs in on the debate.

Bay to the Beltway on how Joe Klein doesn’t do his research when it comes to the Patriot Act in Montana.

Helena IR has a poll up asking who won the debate. You know what to do. (Via Intelligent Discontent. There are more links.)

This may be old news for some, but check out this Ned Lamont commercial, where Bush talks and Lieberman’s words come out: it’s frickin’ brilliant! (Via a Kos post about Lieberman’s response. Worth a read.)

Can the GOP really fool people there were WMDs in Iraq? Again? Surely Americans have learned their lesson already? Naturally, it depends on traditional media to set the record straight. *Gulp*

The TPMCafe thinks Bush’s outrage over the Times story on SWIFT is a not-too-subtle pretext for attacking the media. So…does the media stand up to the President or cower in fear?

Arthur Silber: “The press in this country has voluntarily placed itself in the role of abject dependent for several decades.”

Some extremists think journalists should pay with their lives for the story.

A trio of clowns sabotages a Minuteman III missile with a bolt cutter and a sledgehammer. Hey, how’s our national security coming along?

Speaking of clowns, Jon Stewart mulls the Miami Seven.

More clown news: Rush Limbaugh detained for illegally possessing Viagra. Guess now we know why he’s so hostile all the time…




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